It is estimated that up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S). We have known about the problem of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada for over 20 years, but we have only recently started to have serious conversations about this issue nationally.
We know that LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness face increased risk of physical and sexual exploitation, mental health difficulties, substance use, and suicide. We also know that LGBTQ2S youth are often homeless longer than heterosexual and cisgender youth.
Youth serving organizations have struggled to develop interventions that focus on better supporting LGBTQ2S youth, due to a lack of resources and training. Over the past two years, a number of dynamic systemic interventions have been developed to support organizations in meeting the needs of LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.
This session provides background information on the issue of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada and the unique needs of this population of young people. It also explores various models for a strategy to prevent, reduce, and end LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada.
Dr. Alex Abramovich shares his research on LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness. He will also outline his work with the Alberta Government.
Lesley McMillan highlights some local interventions that organizations have implemented to better support LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness. They also discuss the work of the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness to create their LGBTQ2S Toolkit that has been designed to offer staff training and tools to organizations in order to make it better now for LGBTQ2S youth.
Resources from this webinar
Dr. Alex Abramovich has been addressing the issue of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in a variety of ways for the past 10 years. Alex is a nationally recognized leader in the area of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and is one of few Canadian researchers studying the phenomenon of queer and trans youth homelessness.
Alex's research investigates homophobia and transphobia in the shelter system, institutional erasure, the experiences that LGBTQ2S young people have in shelters and mental health services, and how broader policy issues serve to create oppressive contexts for LGBTQ2S youth.
Alex’s research has been highlighted extensively by the media, including, The Current, CBC, The Toronto Star, CBC Ottawa, NOW Magazine, and Huffington Post. Most importantly, this work has had an impact on policy and Alex has been working with municipal and provincial government to help address the needs of LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness. Alex is committed to research that successfully and ethically engages the community and situates LGBTQ2S people experiencing homelessness as knowledge makers and creators. For more information on Alex’s work, please visit: www.ilona6.com
Lesley McMillan is a community worker who focuses on knowledge mobilization to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness. As the Program Officer with the National Initiatives of Eva’s Initiatives, Lesley works with other youth serving organizations to disseminate emerging and promising practices that are showing results in ending youth homelessness. They also facilitate the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness (a pan-Canadian community of practice). Utilising a collaborative approach, Lesley develops tools and resources for organizations working to end youth homelessness; most recent is the national toolkit for youth organizations to better support LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.
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